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Newscast 09.13.23: College enrollments climb in some Siouxland, regional universities

Peter Judson for NPR

Siouxland Public Media News has compiled new 2023-24 academic year enrollment statistics, and Siouxland colleges are variously experiencing a year with slight gains or flat enrollment.

The University officials reported they were seeking to counteract some trends, such as a period of recent years of enrollment losses for some colleges, plus the opinion by some people that the value of a college education isn’t worth the expense.

The colleges with enrollment growth compared to last year include Dordt University, Briar Cliff University, Northwestern College, Western Iowa Tech Community College, and Wayne State College.

One factor driving enrollment gains in Siouxland is an increasing number of international students, and Morningside, Northwestern and the University of South Dakota saw big growth in international students.

Two colleges north of Sioux City, Dordt and Northwestern, reached record highest-ever enrollments.

At Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, the enrollment moved up from the previous record high of 1,858 in fall semester 2022 and reached 1,911 students.

At Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, the fall enrollment is up slightly, by 5 students, to 1,715, which makes for a fifth consecutive year of increasing enrollment. Another record for the college is the number of graduate students, with 543 this year.

Briar Cliff University in SiouxCity announced its enrollment is at 941 students, a 1.4 percent increase over the last academic year, when it was 927. Including transfers, the first-time student number for Briar Cliff grew to a 5% increase from last year.

Increased numbers of international students are attending Morningside University in Sioux City. Morningside officials declined to share the enrollment this year, so it is unknown where the enrollment stands compared to the 2,180 amount of last year.

Additionally among public colleges in Sioux City, the enrollment at Western Iowa Tech Community College for college students rose from 2,566 last year to 2,692 this fall. Adding in concurrent students, the enrollment is 5,076.

At Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, the fall head count is 4,595, for a 4.6% increase over last year.

The University of South Dakota announced enrollment gains in varying student or academic program categories, and the overall enrollment is 9,868.

Looking at the three Iowa public universities, the largest is the University of Iowa, which has an enrollment of 31,240, which is a slight decline from last year. The other two universities, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, saw growth.

Iowa State University has an enrollment of 30,177, which is up by 208 from last year, while the University of Northern Iowa’s has 9,021 students, marking the institution’s biggest increase in over a decade.

Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, has not released its enrollment.

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